One of the few things we can be assured of as a constant in our union is that, as in life, change is inevitable.
Unions with just one trade jurisdiction are becoming a rare commodity. UFCW Canada, in fact, comes from a long line of union mergers through decades of development. It is a long time since we were simply “retail clerks” or “meat cutters”.
Recent organizing successes have highlighted the tradition of expanding UFCW Canada’s scope in the world of working Canadians. From mergers like the sheep shearers and boot makers of the last half-century, recent additions to our union include firefighters, telemarketers, corner-store clerks, taxi drivers, and even opticians.
In celebration of our diversity – and the common objective of all members to make the workplace a welcoming one where their dignity is respected by the employer – we have produced this new poster, Dignity@WORK. (To obtain copies of this 11”x17” poster, at no charge, please make your request to the UFCW Canada national office.)
The growing diversity of UFCW Canada in many ways reflects the changing face of our nation. It also reflects the need for so many workers who never considered union membership before to join in solidarity with their co-workers and, collectively, improve their working lives.
UFCW Canada local unions are proving that workplace dignity and respect are objectives that are achievable, in reflection of the UFCW Canadian Council’s resolution to ensure that our union’s emphasis on this fundamental right is addressed everywhere from the shop floor to the bargaining table.
Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert announced changes to his NDP cabinet on October 12 – full of “fresh ideas and a new way of thinking” – including the appointment of rookie MLA Deb Higgins to the position of labour minister.
UFCW Canada Director Michael Fraser congratulated Sister Higgins on her appointment. “It is important to have the voice of working people represented at such a high level, especially with a labour activist in the labour ministry,” he says. “This is also a fitting recognition of Deb’s many years of dedication and service to members and her community.”
Sister Higgins, a member of UFCW Canada Local 1400, was elected as the New Democratic member for Moose Jaw Wakamow in 1999. The former Canada Safeway stores cashier was a member of Local 1400’s executive board, and is a past president of the UFCW Saskatchewan Provincial Council.
More: Brian Stewart, UFCW Canada Local 1400
UFCW Canada Local 227W members in Winnipeg who manufacture malt for breweries ratified a new agreement in early September. Members gained wage increases of 3% per year retroactive to last April 1, a $1,000 signing bonus, and improvements to life insurance, dental, vision care, drug plan, bereavement leave, and the administration of STD benefits.
More: Kathy Hildebrand, UFCW Canada national staff, Winnipeg
UFCW Canada Local 175 members at three Canada Safeway stores in Thunder Bay ON went on strike against the employer on October 1, closing that city’s stores. The 400 members are seeking improved job security and guaranteed hours for part-time workers. They are also addressing the introduction of counter-ready meats.
In Manitoba, meanwhile, about 3,300 members of UFCW Canada Local 832 have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action against Safeway in November if negotiations do not progress.
After almost 60 days of meetings during the last 12 months, UFCW Canada Local 401 has distributed a “strike alert” package to more than 8,100 members who work at Real Canadian Superstore and Real Canadian Liquor Store. The package contains a 12-page Personal Planning Guide for a Strike or Lockout, and information on bargaining issues. In Saskatchewan, UFCW Canada national staff are also assisting Local 1400 with strike preparations amongst Superstore members.
More: Doug O’Halloran, UFCW Canada Local 401; Brian Stewart, UFCW Canada Local 1400
UFCW Canada Local 2000 members at Aramark Canada Ltd. in Delta BC ratified a new contract in August. The 11 workers, who provide coffee and beverage distribution services, gained increases of 40¢ on ratification and again in the second year of the agreement, plus a $250 signing bonus. There are also improvements in bereavement leave.
More: Leif Hansen, UFCW Canada Local 2000
Ontario UFCW Canada Local 175 President Wayne Hanley has announced the appointment of Teresa Magee as the new regional director for the southwest region of UFCW Canada Locals 175 and 633. Magee will supervise a team of six union staff representatives and three support staff. Sister Magee, who joined the staff of Locals 175 and 633 in 1990, is the second woman to be named a director of Canada’s largest local union.
More:Wayne Hanley, UFCW Canada Local 175
Brother Dallaire began his union activism as shop steward at a Cooprix store in St-Nicolas QC in 1979. He joined the UFCW Canada national staff in 1989, and has been active in various endeavours, especially organizing, primarily with UFCW Canada Local 503 in the Québec city region.
Additional source: http://ottawa.ca/